The Needles track | South West Tasmania
This is a post about a mini hike I did this weekend. I initially hadn't planned to write about it but it was just too good not to share. The walk is called the Needles and it's in the region of the Franklin-Gordon Wild Rivers National Park and South West National Park. The vistas and terrain there are rugged and breathtaking - and I saw a lyrebird racing out of dense rain forest undergrowth in front of the car before I even got to the first destination!
If you're a bit like me you'll probably regularly convince yourself that you've got no time for a bush walk and you'll prioritise a thousand dull and unfulfilling (scrubbing the bathroom) jobs ahead of immersing yourself in nature for a little bit. If you live in the south of Tasmania then this walk is great for blowing those excuses right out of the water. It took an hour and a half to drive there from Hobart and the track was a two hour return walk. I set off at 7:30am and could have been home with plenty of time to get the bathroom spotless before going out for dinner had I not taken a detour afterwards (I'll save that little surprise destination for the end).
The Needles track begins right at the edge of Gordon River Road, directly opposite the sign announcing the highest point in the road. From there you start a scrambly, steep ascent to the top. The track is well marked and easily followed but not very well made and there were a couple of sections where, with my short little legs, I had to make use of some of the native grasses and shrubs to drag myself up.
The vegetation looks a little Wuthering Heights. It's made up predominantly of low shrubs and grasses and very impressive mountain pepper bushes. The windswept mountainside rises up from the road sharply and the rock formations which give the track it's name are extremely impressive and imposing jagged rock formations rising in sharp peaks out of the golden green slopes. The track leads to a peak which is marked by a massive rock cairn and boasts views of wild places like the Styx, Florentine, Mt Field National Park and Lake Pedder.
After returning to the car my walking buddies and I decided that since we were in the region we'd continue on to Strathgordon and visit the Gordon Dam. The drive takes you through landscapes where mountains rise steeply from plains. There were a few views as we drove around bends that were so surprising and so stunning they felt a bit like a slap in the face. Even if you're not much of a walker it's worth driving through this area and drinking in the wild beauty. We continued on past Lake Pedder and Lake Gordon and reached our destination at the dam. I was gobsmacked. I had no idea how deep the ravine would be and what an engineering marvel the structure of the dam would be. I felt terrified by the height and at the same time the man made dam set into the natural landscape was so beautiful I couldn't stop looking and exploring.
Below are some images of the day that don't do any of the sights justice but hopefully they'll tempt you to get out into this incredible part of Tasmania, even if it is just a short little foray like the Needles track.